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Advice from Will Shadish:


(In response to my post of 1/28/00.)


No, you're not alone in feeling like that. I found myself going in cycles (I was diagnosed 6/1/99), with lots of anxiety surrounding any treatment decision, followed by lots of recovery time after doing the treatment, followed by some stability for a while, until the next problem hits (I've just recurred), and the cycle starts again. It is very hard to take emotionally. I wish I could say I saw an end to it, but short of a cure, I don't think there is one. Perhaps some guys learn how to be more laid back about these things, but I'm not a laid back kind of guy. Perhaps I should be.

Will Shadish

[I wrote him a few months later to see how he was doing and got this response.]

Hi Robert:

Good to hear from you. I do remember our brief interaction. It's perfectly fine to use my observations in whatever form you want, with or without name. Makes no difference to me.

There is a definite change to the way I view life now, though. I am very much more "present-centered," and much less "future-oriented." I'm getting better at letting stress and conflict go away. I'm a bit more forgiving than before. I cry when I don't expect it, and I've never been one to cry. (I saw the end of "Saving Private Ryan" last week, for the third time, and I cried this time though I hadn't the previous two times.) I guess I'm more sensitive to the pathos in life. I think I'm a bit more spiritual than before, and perhaps more generous and giving to others. I view each year I get as a gift, and am grateful for it.

And I've learned a lot about how to be realistically optimistic in the face of a recurrence that I initially took as a death sentence. I still cycle up and down emotionally, but there are more ups and fewer downs. But I also know that when more bad news comes, I'll go down again. All in all, though, that's a list of things that are pretty positive. There are some gifts that come with all this, I guess. I just wish I didn't have to have cancer to learn them.

Take care.


[name used with permission]


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